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Disparity in Horizontal Correspondence of Sound and Source Positioning: The Impact on Spatial Presence for Cinematic VR

This study examines the extent to which disparity in azimuth location between a sound cue and image target can be varied in cinematic virtual reality (VR) content, before presence is broken. It applies disparity consistently and inconsistently across five otherwise identical sound-image events. The investigation explores spatial presence, a sub-construct of presence, hypothesizing that consistently applied disparity in horizontal audio-visual correspondence elicits higher tolerance before presence is broken, than inconsistently applied disparity. Guidance about the interactions of subjective judgments and spatial presence for sound positioning is needed for non-specialists to leverage VR’s spatial sound environment. Although approximate compared to visual localization, auditory localization is paramount for VR: it is lighting condition-independent, omnidirectional, not as subject to occlusion, and creates presence.

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